The past is dead. It is death dealing. The present matters. Nothing is so frustrating as to feel futureless in career. Or elsewhere, if the spirit of action descends on you, you do something more than pull at your chains, you break them! This is royal road to freedom and expression of personality.
This is the real secret of will power. There are many misconceptions about the nature of will power. The worst among them is that “a great big will” is like a strong man’s biceps: it sticks out for everybody to see.
Absurd, in all reality, it is accepted by many as a psychological gospel. Actually, a man’s will in his capacity for carrying out his determinations. In a real man, there is no doubt as to his ability in this respect. He can give himself time to form resolves, and to begin a line of action, but his conduct is never marked by indecision.
He knows what to do, and does it. Why can a leader like Mahatma Gandhi hold on a policy through thick and thin, bearing terrible disappointments, enduring suffering and yet displaying unfailing perseverance?
To say that he is of strong will is to give half the reason. The other half is this; that he had a mighty motive. Motive power enables each man to wait patiently so long as he kept his eyes on the distant goal.
A strong- willed individual has been defined as one who works tenaciously for a remote good, while the weak-willed individual is continually turned aside by some momentary desire.
The intensity with which remote good is pursued decides for every man how much wills he has. If the ambition is to represent a constituency, and become an M.P., or to obtain better conditions in the sick society, or the more personal aim of securing a high degree or diploma, the attractive glory is the chief factor in developing the resolve to conquer.
Motivation is the fire that fuels ambition. It creates courage, and steels the character. Failure to take action is due to a lack of courage physical, mental or moral.
The former kind of courage is set forth in Green’s History when describing William the conqueror, who doubtless embodied in himself a distinct type of leadership. “No other knight under heaven, his enemies confessed, was William’s peer.
The moral type is evident in those who will face death for a principle, like Socrates who drank a cup of hemlock. However, we are always faced with something mysterious, whenever we attempt to fathom a mental faculty. The will is no exception, and the mystery is due, as in the case of other faculties, to it association with the- unconscious.
Clerk Maxwell has stated the fact in these words; what is done by what I call myself is, I feel, done by something greater than myself in me.” Have you ever been in such great danger that when you got out of it safely you wondered how in the world you managed it? And you said: “It seemed as if somebody was helping me”?
If so, you were realizing the mystery of the human will. Adventures, in moments of supreme difficulty, have had similar experiences. Shackleton felt a “Presence” additional to his own in the Antarctic; and Wildon, tackling the terrible dangers of Mount Everest, wrote in his Diary; “Strange, but I feel there is somebody with me.”
Those who strive for the right in its many forms are sure that the will to conquer is more than a conscious resolve or a determination; there are links with the unconscious. Perhaps it is Matthew Arnold’s “power, not ourselves, which make for righteousness”.